So the Clarets pulled off the unthinkable and beat the league champions, the world champions, the biggest football club on the planet – Manchester United.
A packed Turf Moor was rocking as Robbie Blake’s stunning volley and Brian Jensen’s goalkeeping heroics secured the points for the Clarets on their home return to the top flight.
A town and club as small as Burnley getting promotion was special enough. Last year’s monumental campaign will live long in the memory but the team seems insistent on writing new chapters in the history of the club.
There’s a magic around the place at the moment. We felt it in the lead up to the game as the local press used any excuse to get football on the front and back cover of their newspapers. We felt it in the build up to the game. We felt it as we matched United in the early stages of the game. And by God did we feel it when Blake hit his wonder goal. You can write off goal of the season for us already. Nothing will come close to that effort.
And the old ‘No one likes us’ chant is in danger of becoming obsolete. Without wanting to sound like a deluded Newcastle fan braying about the ‘Geordie nation’ it really feels as if the country is rooting for us to succeed. Except for the lot down the road, obviously.
As poor as United were, as superb Burnley were in contrast. Chris McCann bossed the midfield, Martin Paterson harried United’s makeshift back line without tiring all night, and Clarke Carlisle and Andre Bikey – on his Clarets debut after signing just the day before the game – were totemic together at the heart of the Burnley defence.
Clarets fans will have spent the day basking in the heady delights that a win over United brings, but the possibilities opened up by last night’s events are just as exciting. Beating United will instil a belief in the players that will last all season. Even if we lose ten on the spin, Owen Coyle will be able to tell his men: “You can do it – you beat Manchester United.” It will last all season.
Burnley will fancy their chances against anyone at Turf Moor now. We had to make the famous old ground a fortress if we were to have any chance of staying up and last night’s win lays the foundations for a home record similar to Stoke’s last season.Next up are Everton, fresh from a battering at the hands of a rampant Arsenal team on the opening day. They also have well documented problems with Joleon Lescott demanding a transfer to Manchester City, and with Phil Jagielka still injured they are as light in defence as United were last night. Only a fool would bet against Coyle’s men making it back-to-back wins.
This article was written for Fanzone.